10 Beers that pair well with video games

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This time around I wanted to do something a little bit different. Every now, and again Mark over at Classic Game Room has reviewed beer in between some of his regular episodes.  This gave me an idea a while ago. Since I work with beer, and I review video games on this blog I’ve thought about the kinds I’ve tried over the years, and which ones really seemed to hit the spot during a gaming session. Don’t worry, I’m not transitioning the blog into a weird Cracked clone, that nobody will read. Rather, this is a part one, of a two-part one-off project. I haven’t abandoned reviews. So you can calm down, and breathe a sigh of relief. After this article, I’ll go down a list of sodas. Because not everybody enjoys beer, and even those who do like to switch it up from time to time. Obviously this entry is geared to those who are over 21, so if you’re underage you should skip this article, and check out the list of sodas when that comes out instead.

Keep in mind this is not a *TOP* ten. These are just ten that I happen to really like. There are a TON of really good ones not on this list that are just as good. Again there are also a ton I’ve never had. Also, not all of these will be available in your area. Many breweries are regional. So unless you’re able to go all over the world all of the time, you won’t see some of them. But hey, the inverse is also true. There are thousands of beers I’ll never see in my lifetime. I also apologize in advance, I don’t have photos for every entry on the list. Be that as it may, I’m going to kick things off.

10. Ballast Point Commodore Stout

Seeing how I’m a big Commodore fan (I mean come on, my blog title is a C64 reference!) The name automatically drew me to the bottle. But the art will show you that the brewery was referencing the Naval rank, as evidenced by the skeleton sailing a ship. Be that as it may, this stout really does go nicely with a play through of The Great Giana Sisters, or a few games of Mail Order Monsters with a friend. It’s got the heft you would expect the texture of a stout to have. Plus it has a delicious roast coffee aftertaste. There are some vanilla notes in there too, but not enough to overpower the flavor of the beer. It’s also around 6.5% ABV, so while it’s above the 5% ABV of a typical beer, you aren’t going to be unable to function after one. It’s not one of the cheaper options here, as Ballast Point tends to command a premium. But it is pretty nice to break out once in a while.

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09. New Holland Hoptronix Double IPA

They should have called this Hop Invaders. Because the first thing you will see on the box is a love letter to Space Invaders. It features some really fun pixel art, with hops replacing the aliens, and an 8-bit beer bottle in lieu of a cannon.  As for the beer itself, this is a Double IPA. As such there will be some bitterness as that is indicative of the style. However, this goes neither the ultra-bitter route nor does it go the dry, yet juicy route. Instead, as the description on the box says, it goes for a dank approach. It has elements of bitterness, and dryness. It stands out for being different. At 9% ABV it’s a bit more potent than some of the other ones in the list. But still complements Atari 2600 night wonderfully. Grab the paddles, and that copy of Warlords!

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08. City Steam Naughty Nurse Amber Ale

Here we go. Sometimes you want a great all around beer. A big cut above the mass market stuff you can have any time. But also not something overly complicated. Naughty Nurse fits that bill perfectly. It’s an amber-colored ale, giving you a rich flavor thanks to the combination of English hops, and crystal malt. It has a very distinct aftertaste, and it is neither too heavy or light feeling. It’s just good. Sometimes good is all you need. And, at 5.5% ABV you can have a couple of them whether you’re going for the high score on Centipede, or exploring the countryside in The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild.

07. Lagunitas The Waldos Ale

This one is kind of cheating because you can’t get it all of the time. Lagunitas puts this one out under their One Hitter series which means they make one small run, and then they don’t make it again until the following year. It’s out now of this writing, but since it’s a small run, you may have to check a few places before finding it. Assuming you can find it. If you do though, it’s worth picking up. It has a fruity quality to it, and tastes like nothing else. At least nothing I’ve tried. There is also a very mild burn to it which may sound weird until you realize it has an 11.9% ABV. Suffice it to say, you’ll really only want to have one of these on game night. But you’ll enjoy nursing it along to many rounds of the re-release of Street Fighter II on the Switch on game night in a few weeks. That is if you don’t drink them all before then.

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06. Bear Republic Racer #5 IPA

This is one of the ones Mark Bussler reviewed, and it isn’t something distributed in my area. But luckily for me, going over the State line brings me to an area where it is. Upon having some, I have to say Mark was spot on in his review. It is light, crisp, and delicious. it’s got a nice balance of bitterness, and citrus notes. It isn’t potent. It is a good, reliable Californian IPA that goes very well with a game of Ribbit King against your friends. Distribution for this one is spotty, (unless you’re on the west coast) but if you do see it in your area, check it out.

05. Thomas Hooker #NoFilter IPA

This. This is something you’ll want to check out if you’re in CT, MA, or PA (They’re small, and don’t have a massive distribution right now) but the hashtag beer is splendid. It has a very citrus fruit flavor profile thanks to the fact it isn’t filtered. It’s very cloudy. If you pour it in a pint glass you won’t see through it. It’s really good, and punches you with its juicy flavor. It’s also the perfect thing to break out when you have your next BYOB LAN party for hours of Unreal Tournament, Quake 3 Arena, death matches, and Serious Sam in 16 player co-op. Unfortunately, it’s short packed. So  a store might only get 1 case of the #NoFilter. But if you can find a six-pack, check it out. It’s pretty great.

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04. Alpine Maharaja Double IPA

Here’s another rare one on the list. But it’s one of the few unicorns worthy of the hype. At 10% ABV The King will probably get you drunk pretty fast. But it tastes great doing it. It takes a similar route the Hoptronix does, being neither too bitter or too citrusy. But between the unique blend of hops, and spices it comes off as completely different. The higher ABV does make it a tad hefty. But not enough to ruin it.  This one could potentially be popular with Entropist mains in the upcoming Mirage: Arcane Warfare. Assuming the final game is as fun, and addictive as Chivalry: Medieval Warfare was when it came out.

03. Pipeworks Blood Of The Unicorn Hoppy Red Ale

Pipeworks is a great outfit out of Chicago, and pretty much everything they make is pretty good. This one stands out though because it has elements of both a red amber ale, and an IPA. As such you’ll get some bitterness, as well as some nice malty flavor. it’s also around 6% ABV so this is something you can have a couple of without knocking yourself out or making yourself sick. The package art is also really cool. Perfect beer for a summer day on the deck trying to get that high score in Robot Unicorn Attack.

02. Relic Dreamrise Double IPA

Relic is a very small outfit out of Plainville CT, and not every beer they make is always available. They change-up the line up every few months, presumably to not over produce any one beverage. That said, most of them are pretty good like their Dreamrise Double IPA. It veers more toward the citrus end of IPAs, with a very rich taste without feeling too heavy. At 8% ABV it isn’t overly powerful, allowing you to enjoy it while playing through the classic Mega Man game of your choice.

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01. City Steam Naughty Nurse IPA

This one is my current favorite beer, and has held that title almost as long as it’s been out. It is a terrific IPA. It has just the right amount of bitterness. It has some crystal malt like its amber sister. It has a citrusy aroma, and after taste on the back-end. Similar to the Racer #5, it too, has a light body. It’s a refreshing IPA. It won’t be everyone’s favorite. I’ve shared it with some who feel it’s good, but not great. But I’ve also shared it with many who loved it as much as I do. It’s around 6.5% ABV too, so it strikes a nice balance of profile, and potency. If you come out here for Retro World Expo be sure to visit City Steam’s brewery pub, and have some. It pairs well with everything from Berzerk to Super Mario World to The Wonderful 101. It’s also a nice companion to any party game. Like Dokapon Kingdom or Wario Ware Smooth Moves.

So there you go! Again, half of these you may not be able to find in your area, but if you do see any of these, give them a spin. And if there’s a beer you really enjoy cracking open during a marathon of Overwatch matches, let the world know below! Next time, we’ll go over some really good colas!

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14 thoughts on “10 Beers that pair well with video games

  1. Duck Rabbit Milk Stout is perfect for any game with a fantasy or winter setting, or any difficult game you need an extra push through after a couple cold ones. I definitely wrote a few of these down, though I’m definitely not an IPA guy. Gimmie the dark stuff!

    1. I took a look at their website. Unfortunately they’re not distributed in my neck of the woods. But all of their stuff looks pretty awesome! If I find myself on a trip down the East coast I’ll certainly check it out!

      I debated on more types for the list, but I guess I’m a sucker for any really good IPA. If anyone digs Lager, I highly recommend Jack’s Abby out of Framingham MA. It’s pretty much all they do. New Holland out of MI does a lot of great stouts, and porters too. Dragon’s Milk is the stuff of Legend.

  2. This is such an awesome post! Two things that go together so well. Love it. You’ve got my follow. Check out my comedy blog and give it a follow if you like it!

  3. This is a great post. Definitely going to look into some of these mentioned. That Naughty Nurse ale looks right up my alley! 😀

    You should share your articles in our FB group. We’re a growing community of gaming bloggers and we’re always looking for more great writers to share their work and discuss all things gaming. Just search for “Game Bloggers United” on Facebook.

  4. Oh what a great idea! Now you’re making me wonder what kind of alcohol would go well with Final Fantasy :p I’m thinking of wine because that’s my favorite type of alcohol, but I’m woefully unlearned about wines. I just know I like what tastes good, but beyond Chardonnay (and sangria, which isn’t legitimate wine, but a mixture) and possibly Rose (with the accent on the “e” I can’t include because WP doesn’t allow it), that’s all I really know.

    1. Wine really comes down to how fruity/sweet vs. how bodied/dry you want to go. You can get rudimentary wine books on it, but really the best bet is to get something, and try it out. And you may find that you could get two different brands of the same kind of wine, and love one, and hate the other. Wine can get complicated when looking at where the grapes came from, how they were grown, etc. etc. But unless you’re going to make wine collecting/drinking a hobby you don’t have to worry about that.

      Just take a shot in the dark on a fair priced bottle. Not crazy expensive, but not rot gut rock bottom either. Try a $10-$15 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon if you want a red with a fuller body, or a Pinot Noir if you want it fruit forward. Merlots are pretty dry so the handful of times I get a bottle of wine I’ll veer toward those. But then you can go with something like a Malbec, which are a popular style. It’s probably not a good descriptor on my part, but they’re what I call “Earthy” there’s just something spicy, and granular about them to me. Zinfadels are a little more fruit forward too, though still taste markedly different than a Pinot Noir.

      Then you have the blends, which are usually sweeter because they’ll add cherries, or raspberries to the grapes.

      Rose ‘ wines are dry blush wines. They age the grapes, skin them, and age them again to give it the pinkish color. This is different than White Zinfadel which usually just blends Zinfadel with white wine to get the same color. As such Rose’ generally tastes better. But White Zin is affordable, and a lot of people like it fine.

      White wine, you’ll have the same kind of thing. Chardonnay is generally one of the driest. Pinot Grigio is fruitier. Sauvignon Blanc is somewhere in between the two. Honestly, I don’t care for it, because nothing really pops out about it to me. I’d just assume have a glass of water. But that’s just me. You might find it’s awesome. Which again is why I say experiment. Then there’s Riesling, and Moscato, which are sweeter wines.

      For real fun, you can always get a bottle of Grappa, which is a liquor made from the leftover skins from wine making. Of course then you go from drinking a 10-14% wine to drinking something closer to 20% or more.

      But my favorite wine is Mead. It’s wine made from honey instead of grapes. It isn’t as popular here in the US, it’s much more prominent throughout Europe. It was popular in the Dark, and Middle ages, but it dates back to some of the earliest civilizations. I usually nab a bottle of Viking Blod mead to bring to Christmas dinner. It always goes over well. It’ll set you back around $30 but it’s worth the experience.
      Since you’re talking fantasy RPG settings, it may fit the atmosphere for you. But now I’ve begun to ramble.

      Anyway my advice is just try whatever looks interesting. Worst case scenario, you end up not liking it, and giving it to someone else. Just remember once you open a wine you have around a week or so to drink it up. After that it starts to lose its flavor, and go bad. I’ve had open wine later than that, and yeah, pretty gross.
      On that queasy note, thanks for the reply, and the read 🙂

      1. I do like Zinfandels quite a bit! You seem to be quite a wine expert, and I do like the more fruity variety of wine and I try to avoid the more bitter. I’m not so much a fan of the dry either, but I love mead. The honey just works so well with it.

        The open wine makes so much sense…it explains why I’ve been okay with a bottle initially but then later it tastes gross. My favorite wine was definitely this moscato that they were featuring at Olive Garden (don’t laugh you wine connoisseur lol), and I wound up buying a couple of bottles from Wine.com. I was a bit worried about the transit, but they were very good with their refrigeration.

      2. Well, I wouldn’t call myself an expert. There are people who know far more than I do, but I know some of the basics. Which helps when someone has a general question. As I say it can get intricate, especially when talking Italian, or French wines since they name some after the region, others after the grape used, and then there are a number of other variables. For instance on Italian Chianti, you’ll often see a little sticker of a rooster. This indicates it came from a specific part of Italy. This translates into wine street cred. When you get one of the hifalutin fans, they will refuse to buy/drink Chianti in a bottle that does not have that sticker. Even if it tastes better by most accounts.

        Anyway, I don’t laugh at anyone’s preferences with wine or beer. Though the beer snob in me sometimes questions the love affair some have with Busch lite in my neck of the woods. Still, people like what they like. There aren’t right/wrong opinions on what tastes good to someone.

      3. “There are right/wrong opinions on what tastes good to someone.” This. Exactly. I’ve been mocked for my less than “refined” tastes for wines. I’m perfectly fine with off the shelf, Wine and Spirits Shoppe sangria or Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot. I’m fond of dessert wines and sweet wines, and while they might not be Asti Spumonti, it’s still something I like. My palette is maturing a bit though I’m still not overly fond of beer unless its frulli, which I think is delicious.

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